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UT Arlington’s North Texas Genome Center to Enable COVID-19 Testing

Up to 500 tests a day can be analyzed to serve the campus and surrounding community.
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North Texas Genome Project COVID-19 Testing
The COVID-19 testing facility was set up by Dr. Florence Haseltine. (Courtesy: UT Arlington)

The University of Texas at Arlington is growing its on-campus testing capabilities via the North Texas Genome Center, strengthening the university’s ability to return to school and work safely.

The genome center was originally launched as a collaboration between universities and corporations to sequence genomes for biomedical research, but shifted when the pandemic hit. Over several months, a pop-up COVID-19 rapid testing unit was developed, acquiring equipment that would allow it to analyze 500 samples per day at full capacity.

“The response and hard work from our team at the North Texas Genome Center to quickly shift focus to supporting the needs of our University and community during this time are nothing short of phenomenal,” Interim President Teik C. Lim said via release. “I am so proud of this team and the extraordinary efforts they have made toward protecting the health and safety of our Maverick family.”

Students will be targeted for testing when they show COVID-19 symptoms, though there will be no out-of-pocket costs for testing, regardless of health insurance. Student athletes and athletics staff will receive same-day test results as they return to campus for training before school starts.

“This is a realization of our ultimate goal of making the North Texas Genome Center a true resource for the state of Texas and beyond,” said Jon Weidanz, associate vice president for research and director of the NTGC via release. “The things we’ve been able to achieve so far this year are equipping us to help in ways that perhaps hadn’t been previously considered.”

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